§ Major Milner
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he is aware of the increasing unemployment in the building industry and allied trades; the difficulty in obtaining mortgage advances by purchasers who have entered into contracts to purchase; and the apprehension and loss caused both by small and large owners and others associated with real property arising from the delay in the setting up of a real property war risks insurance scheme; and will he undertake to give a prompt decision on receipt of the Weir Report;
(2) when the Weir Committee on the War Risks Insurance of Real Property was appointed; on what date did it commence its sittings; on what dates has it continued to sit; what is the reason for the delay in reporting; what steps have been taken to expedite the report; and when may it now be expected to be made public?556W
§ Sir J. Simon
Unemployment in the building industry and allied trades is substantially less than it was last year, and I could not accept the implication that the absence of a scheme of insurance against risk of war damage is a main cause of the other conditions referred to. But I agree that it is most desirable to publish the Weir Report and reach a decision upon it as promptly as possible. I had hoped to be able to circulate the report to-day, together with the views of the Government thereon. It will not be possible to complete the White Paper in time for this, but if a question is put to me on Tuesday I expect to be able to announce that it is ready. In the meantime, I must remove any impression of delay. On the contrary, Lord Weir's Committee was constituted on the 27th July; it commenced sitting almost immediately; and when war appeared imminent it willingly undertook, in response to my request, to expedite its work and reach its conclusions with all possible speed.